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Real Madrid conquer Europe amid Paris chaos – key talking points from CL final

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is stunned by his side’s Champions League win at the final whistle (Adam Davy/PA)
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is stunned by his side’s Champions League win at the final whistle (Adam Davy/PA)

Liverpool’s bid for a trophy treble ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final at the Stade de France in Paris.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the game’s main talking points.

Crowd chaos forces kick-off delay

Hundreds of seats in the Liverpool end were still empty when kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes
Hundreds of seats in the Liverpool end were still empty when kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes (Peter Byrne/PA)

The build-up to kick-off was overshadowed by a 36-minute delay amid chaotic scenes outside the stadium involving thousands of Liverpool supporters, who had bottlenecked and were forced to wait for hours at ticket checkpoints.

While Real Madrid’s end was full long before the scheduled 8pm kick-off, thousands of seats in the Liverpool end were still empty when a 15-minute delay was announced inside the stadium.

UEFA said the delay was due to “security reasons”. It was later confirmed the game would get under way at 8.30pm before the players began a second warm-up and it eventually started at 8.36pm.

Police use batons and tear gas

Police used pepper spray against Liverpool fans outside the Stade de France
Police used pepper spray against Liverpool fans outside the Stade de France (Adam Davy/PA)

BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey said claims were made by Liverpool fans that some groups, including children, had been tear-gassed by police and the PA news agency later confirmed some Reds supporters, who appeared to show officers their tickets, clashed with police after a gate had been closed, denying them entry.

Bottles were thrown at the officers, who responded with pepper spray and tear gas, leaving some fans holding their eyes. Supporters still waiting to get in were visibly frustrated, while stadium seats were still left empty after kick-off. Police also used tear gas, batons and shields to force young locals, who appeared to have caused the mayhem, away from the area.

One fan told PA: “I’ve queued up for four hours, my wife and I have tickets. Appalling. I’m devastated, Liverpool fans should not get the blame for this.”

VAR confusion

Benzema's effort at the end of the first half was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check
Benzema’s effort at the end of the first half was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check (Nick Potts/PA)

Liverpool were nearly made to pay for not cashing in on their early dominance when Karim Benzema turned the ball home at the end of the first half, only for the goal to ruled out after an agonisingly long check by the video assistant referee.

Benzema had raced on to a long ball into Liverpool’s box and when he lost control, the ball ricocheted off defender Fabinho and Benzema turned home the rebound.

VAR ruled that because Fabinho had not deliberately played the ball, Benzema was in an offside position and the Premier League side were given an almighty let-off.

Real find a way again

Carlo Ancelotti’s side had been second best for long periods – just as they were in previous rounds against Paris St Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City – but clinically converted a rare opening to score the decisive goal in the 59th minute.

Federico Valverde fizzed a brilliant low ball across the face of goal and Vinicius Junior stole in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold to turn home the winner at the far post.

Liverpool created several clear chances to get themselves back on terms, but were denied on each occasion by a colossal display from man-of-the-match Thibault Courtois.

The big Belgium goalkeeper pushed Sadio Mane’s low first-half effort on to a post and made three more stunning saves in the second period to deny Mo Salah twice and Diogo Jota.